This is a funny book loaned to me by neighbor Ben. It’s full of housekeeping tips for a by-gone era. I’m so glad we don’t have to do all of this. Life must have been so hard when you had to cook from scratch every day, keep a spotless house, iron your pillow cases and guest towels and hankies, dress up, wear hats, put on leg make-up under your nylons, etc. We have it so much easier now, 70 years later, when people wear their jammies and slippers to the grocery store, maybe even on airplanes. One thing we don’t do any longer is smoke in the house. She includes tips on ashtrays – have a special coffee can with a lid and go around and empty them into this can. Yuck! Anyway, here are some tips:
Loved this book! It is our second Old Town Library Book Club selection for the 2022-2023 year, and so refreshing! It was fun and funny. Charles Wheelan is an incredible dad. He teaches Economics at Dartmouth but loves to travel. He and his wife, Leah, decide to take their three teenagers on a gap year around the world. They farmed out the two dogs and Leah’s sister’s family stayed in their house for the year (9 months, actually). They had to have a strict budget, and the two youngest children, Sophie and CJ, had to maintain their school status; Sophie by taking on-line classes, which was a huge battle, and CJ by home-schooling. Katrina, the oldest at 18, had just graduated and deferred her college admission for a year.
They started in Cartagena, Colombia, then down to the tip of South America, then they flew to New Zealand and did both islands, then to Australia and Tasmania, then to Vietnam and Southeast Asia, then to India, Bhutan, Burma, Africa, back to India, then to Eastern Europe, and finally, back home. It was from the fall of 2016 to June of 2017. They had a strict daily budget, which Leah kept track of on a spreadsheet. They each got to take one backpack. Charles wanted to read books along the way, so he picked places they were going where they would be staying with people they knew and mailed the books ahead to those places. CJ, the youngest child, a son, was a chatterbox. Charles and his oldest daughter are introverts. Sophie and Leah are extroverted. There were some meltdowns, maybe about 5 total. They happened when they were really tired, really hungry, and really uncomfortable. But they went around the world, learned so much, and grew so much. CJ became an eco-warrior (at the same time, he loved sports cars and any luxuries along the way). His major assignment was to write a paper on deforestation. He did so, and it was good. Charles and Leah had gone around the world together in the 1990s and they compared the times. One of the take-aways was there has been much environmental degradation – the coral in the Great Barrier Reef is dying, and there was deforestation going on everywhere they went.
Katrina, the 18-year old, picked up a flesh-eating parasite during their time in the Amazon jungle. They noticed these sores on her feet that were not going away. Finally, a friend of hers in Germany hooked her up with a doctor in Germany that specialized in tropical diseases and they figured it out – Leishmaniasis – which had to be treated before it was too late, with 28 days of pills that make you feel like you are on chemo.
And How He Saved My Life, by James Bowen and Garry Jenkins, 2012
True story about a heroin addict in London, James Bowen, adopting this street cat (a “Ginger Tom”) in 2007, who ends up saving his life. What a wonderful gift this cat is from God to him. Because he had to care for this cat, it kept him from going back on heroin and gave his life meaning and richness. This cat, who refused to leave him, provided him the motivation to better his life, get completely off heroin, and provided the love and companionship and purpose he needed to stay off drugs. He healed rifts with his family. He could see beauty in the world again. What a wonderful tale, a true story. I learned about this book from the Poudre River Library’s monthly email on biographies. There are two more books in the series, and he has a website: www.hodder.co.uk and Twitter site @streetcatbob.
It is very easy reading but very engaging. I loved this book. You learn a lot about the programs there are for homeless people and addicts in London. Here are some interesting parts:
Delightful soap opera set in mid-1970s Scotland. It’s 613 pages long. I got the book from a little-free library. First, Mom read it and loved it. Then, Carol read it and loved it. She said it takes you away to Scotland, and it certainly does. A rural village in Scotland with rich people and poor people and a crazy person and Indian immigrant shop-keepers who save the day, and an 8-year old boy named Henry, and lovers, and friends, and family, and marital discord, and haunting pasts, and a beloved sister coming home after 20 years away. It was a fantastic book and she spared no detail in describing Scottish manors and cottages, and the Scottish landscape and weather. I loved this book!
Eew. Yuck. I hated this book. Too dark, too depressing, too sad, too hopeless, too graphic, too filthy. No goodness and light whatsoever. Set in Hartford, Connecticut, it’s about “Little Dog,” a Vietnamese boy who is beaten by his mother, who was beaten by her husband. He falls in love with a white boy who is beaten by his alcoholic father, who live in a dirty yellow mobile home. They meet farming tobacco, he describes in detail their sex acts. The white boy’s name is Trevor. He is addicted to Oxycontin from a broken ankle when he is fifteen, eventually becomes a heroin addict and dies from an overdose. In the midst of the darkness and sadness, he also philosphizes and I couldn’t make any sense whatsoever. This book is trash. It was the first selection of the Old Town Library Book Club for 2022-2023. I don’t know if I’ll go on Monday night because I have nothing good to say and I’m angry that someone even suggested this book and that it got selected. It’s deeply disturbing and I wish I never read it. I want to wash my mind of it. The only good things were his grandmother, Lan, and his grandfather, Paul. And the title, a very intriguing title. But the book is hopeless and dark. Yuck. I want to forget I read it.
Everything you ever wanted to know about fracking. Very detailed. This book was one of the books about oil that the Economist recommended. Thanks to the perseverance against all odds by a few determined men, the U.S.A went from being dependent upon OPEC for energy to being an exporter of energy. But it is so difficult to get oil and natural gas from rock. It took decades to figure out how to do it – horizontal drilling and up to 30 stages of fracking. Supposedly, the process does not cause earthquakes, or pollute underground water ways, although that is not definite. We have fracking spots all over northeastern Colorado, and when we drove to Steamboat, there is one in North Park right alongside the highway.
It turns out that Europe has oil and natural gas, too, but they don’t allow fracking because they are so populated and don’t have the wide open spaces that the U.S.A. has. Poland actually tried fracking but they would have to go too deep, (16,000 feet), to get to the oil, and that’s not feasible. The UK is an excellent candidate for fracking, but the Crown owns the mineral rights and it makes it very difficult to frack. Also, they are so populated and the population is against fracking.
The major US oil companies, like Exxon, were not involved in fracking. They had given up on oil in America and were working overseas when these independent companies like Mitchell Energy and Chesapeake finally got it going and became billionaires. That’s when Exxon and Chevron came back to America.
It’s a very good, detailed book, but since it is 10 years old, I really want to know what’s going on now. I googled, “Is the US still exporting natural gas?” A Reuter’s article from Sept 9, 2022, came up and we are the biggest exporter of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) in the world.
He describes the history, lives and personalities of the main people responsible for making the US into a oil and natural gas powerhouse via fracking, and their various companies:
George Mitchell of Mitchell Energy: It took 17 years but his people finally figured out how to frack and get oil out of the Barnett Shale in Texas. George Mitchell wanted natural gas to be used as a cleaner alternative to oil and coal while allowing renewables to advance in the meantime. He conceived and built The Woodlands community in Texas.
Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward who started Chesapeake Energy: Oklahomans who took fracking mainstream and bought and leased land all over the US and fracked and fracked and fracked. He describes how rich they both were, but Aubrey especially was over-the-top wealthy. Twenty million dollar homes, $100,000 wine collections, etc. Aubrey made Oklahoma City into an upscale city with his donations and influences. He and Tom Ward were both forced out of their companies, though, after the 2008 downturn. I Googled Aubrey McClendon and he died in a single-vehicle crash in Oklahoma City–he ran into a concrete overpass in Oklahoma City and died instantly at 9:12 a.m. on March 2, 2016. Sounds like suicide. This was the day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury for violating anti-trust laws while CEO of Chesapeake Energy from 2007-2012. Tom Ward is still alive and is still in the energy business. He currently runs Mach Energy. Former companies were Chesapeake Energy, SandRidge Energy, and Tapstone Energy.
Charif Souki, the Lebanese immigrant who dreamed of importing Liquid Natural Gas and started a company, Cheniere, and held out hope against all odds, eventually turning it into a LNG exporting company. It is the first company in America to export LNG in 2016. He grew up in Lebanon and learned to ski in the mountains of Lebanon. His persistence was amazing.
There are a few others described in detail, too: Harold Hamm and Mark Papa. He also describes the town of Williston, North Dakota, when Harold Hamm finally figured out how to get oil and natural gas out of the Bakken. It sounds like a horrible town – no place for anyone but the dregs of humanity. The Walmart parking lot was where many of the oilmen lived and it was dangerous for women to walk through that parking lot. Streets were being built so fast, Google maps couldn’t keep up.
I end up rooting for the frackers. I totally forgot about nuclear power, the true answer in my opinion. Maybe there will be a book someday about the people who, against all odds, finally got rich on nuclear power. America is the place where this type of thing can happen because most of our land is not owned by the government, an individual can get wealthy beyond their wildest dreams through their hard work and persistence, and we have lots of wide open spaces.
Fun mystery! Pat was reading it on her front porch one day this summer. Set in the San Juan Islands, a talented, rich, widowed wood-worker decides to escape her demons on an island her uncle bought in the 1920s. She decides to re-build the house he built that was burned down. There are good characters and bad characters. The setting is wonderful. The writing is superb.
What a strange book! It was the September 2022 selection for the Classic Book Club. I gave it to Mom to read first and asked her if she wanted to go to this book club and discuss it. She at first said yes, but then she said no. I finally read it weeks afterward and I hope she has forgotten it. I wouldn’t have given it to her to read if I’d read it first.
A beautiful young couple go to the south of France for their honeymoon. They eat good food, drink (a lot), ride their bikes, swim in the beautiful sea, make love. It’s paradise until Catherine tells David she has a surprise. Enter the wierdness. She goes to town and gets her hair cut like a boy. She asks him if she can “change.” He can tell she needs it so reluctantly agrees. Nothing is spelled out, but something deeply disturbing to David happens, and Catherine apologizes, but wants it again. And then, Catherine brings home another woman. This one is just as beautiful as she is. Her name is Marita and both Catherine and David fall in love with her. David is a writer. In the midst of all this drinking and sex, he is writing a story. It is a story of he and his father and Juma in Africa hunting an old bull elephant. It really happened and David works hard to get everything right. He allows Marita to read it because she has read his other books and loves his writing. Marita secretly allows Catherine to read it and Catherine hates it and burns it up completely. She tells David and explains she had to do it. He tells her he wishes he had never met her. He’s afraid he’s going to kill her. He and Marita go for a drive. While they are gone, Catherine gets on a train for Paris. The book ends with David and Marita in love and David going through one awful day trying to write and only being able to get one sentence down over and over. But then, after a day without Catherine and her madness, and a day and a night with Marita, he is able to begin re-writing the story, even better this time.
He started writing this in 1946 (wikipedia) and worked on it for 15 years until his death. I guess it was like 700 pages long. It was published 25 years after his death (he died in 1961). It is only 247 pages. It is a good book but disturbing. Catherine’s madness destroys paradise. He didn’t want any of the wierdness but she would not take no for an answer. His pet name for her is “Devil.” It mirrors the stereotype of Eve tempting Adam in the Garden of Eden and sin entering paradise.
Historical fiction about the early days of the oil business. Recommended by an Economist reporter in order to learn about the business. It follows Bunny Ross, a young “oil prince” and his life in Southern California with his father, J. Arnold Ross, former mule-driver turned oil magnate. Bunny is a sweet, compassionate, beautiful boy who loves his Dad but, as he grows up, sees the corruption and questions if it is necessary. His Dad insists, yes! But Bunny becomes more and more a Socialist, in favor of labor and the little people. As he grows up in the early 1900s in Southern California, he experiences worker strikes in which he takes the side of the workers (they were working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week).
Lori J. recommended this book. It was excellent. It’s about Saint Teresa of Cabora in Mexico and her life from the time she is born until she is exiled to the United States. She is the bastard daughter of Don Tomas, a wealthy rancher. He is a very loving man, too loving when it comes to beautiful women. He goes from not acknowledging Teresa (and Buenaventura, his bastard son from another woman), to loving them and accepting them as his own. That’s a beautiful part of the story. Teresa (Teresita) is recognized as special, a healer, when she is very young, by Huila, an old, cranky healer whom everyone depends upon and loves. She trains up Teresa and Teresa becomes an even more powerful healer. Many pilgrims take over the ranch and Teresa spends her days healing, and her father, Don Tomas, helps her pick the lice out of a little boy’s head late one night, and finds new meaning in his life.
Unfortunately, the corrupt government of Mexico, run by President Diaz, is threatened by Teresa and, of course, try to discredit her by spreading lies, and then capture her and her father and put them in prison. The ending is amazing. They have decided to exile Teresa and her father to the United States rather than kill them, and are moving them by train. However, the loyal Indian warriors are determined to ambush the train and rescue Teresa. She knows this, as does the compassionate Captain Enriquez, but she convinces Captain Enriquez not to shoot at any of the warriors as the move slowly through the canyon. She is standing on the flatcar of the train where the warriors can see her and she says to them and to the soldiers on the train, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, don’t shoot.” And no one shot. The train moved through the canyon slowly and the warriors saw their saint and she was telling them not to shoot and they obeyed her. No one got hurt. She never wanted any death or violence to take place. She was peaceful and loving.
I loved this book. The dialogue is fun and fast-paced and humorous. The characters are wonderful. There are some terrible things that happen, but the author does not use graphic language. There are a lot of native words used and no definitions provided. At first, I thought about looking them up as I went along, but I didn’t – you can tell what a lot of them mean by the context.
Memoir by a woman who was bulimic starting at age 10, then an alcoholic. She finds out she is pregnant for the 2nd time and decides to have this baby. She marries her boyfriend, they try to make a go of it, having 3 children, moving to Naples, Florida. She becomes a writer. One day, she clicks on a file on his computer and finds porn. It is the last straw. She kicks him out. Then starts an 18-month journey of finding herself. Her husband, Craig, is really sorry and really wants to save their marriage and he starts counseling, too. After a long journey, they do and it’s good.
When she was 10, she discovered bulimia. She thought she was huge, ugly, a monster. She could hide and be in control by bingeing and purging. Then in high school and college, she became what the world told her to become–thin and sexy. She was in a sorority where they had to remind the girls to flush the toilets when they threw up because so many of the girls were bulemic. The fraternities would put up signs, “No Fat Chicks.” She became an alcoholic on top of her bulimia. Her boyfriend, Craig, seems like a nice guy. When she finds out she’s pregnant the first time, he goes with her to have an abortion, but then leaves her by herself after she insists she’s okay. When she finds out she’s pregnant the 2nd time, she goes to a church and walks barefoot on the carpet towards a statue of Mary and God finds her there – She feels unconditional love for the first time. There starts a very long journey of discovering her true self through the lies that she has believed for too long. Mainly that we are beautiful and loved just the way we are.
This book is written by a huge Roger Federer fan, and it’s about life as a Federer fan: the joy of his victories, the agony of his defeats, and despising Rafael Nadal. Being a Roger Federer fan brought him through a dark period of his life. I wonder how he feels about Rafael Nadal now, and how he feels about Novak Djokovic. In 2015, Novak was far from Roger’s records, and now he has overtaken them. In 2015, it wasn’t widely known how much Roger likes and respects Rafael, and vice versa. I bet he now despises Novak Djokovic and doesn’t mind Rafael Nadal. I say that because he mirrors my own feelings.
This was the last book selection for the “Take Me Away” summer book club at the Old Town Library. I don’t know what to think. It was a good story but too much gratuitous sex and drug-taking. It just didn’t need all that garbage. Set in 1950 to 1980 Malibu. Four children of a famous singer grow up without him. Their mother dies by drowning in a bathtub in a drunken stupor. The oldest sister takes care of her three younger siblings, sacrificing her life for them. They are all talented and beautiful. The oldest sister marries a tennis pro, he leaves her for another tennis pro, then he comes back on the night of the annual party. The party is attended by all the famous people and they are disgusting animals. The kids’ Dad shows up at midnight and they are all down on the beach having a heart-to-heart while the 200 guests are destroying the place. When all is said and done, the house burns down and the kids and their Dad move on with a new understanding.
A good tale, but really became trash because of the unneeded and unwanted details of people having sex and doing drugs. Yucch!
I decided to read this book after Geoff Dyer wrote about it in The Last Days of Roger Federer. I’m glad I read it. It describes road trips across 1940s America twice, and then one down to Mexico. The main characters are Sal Paradise and his dear friend, Dean Moriarty. Dean grew up on the streets of Denver, homeless, with a hobo father. He never saw his mom’s face. He loves women and speed. Kerouac doesn’t mention Dean taking any speed, but everything Dean does is fast to a manic degree – driving, working as a parking lot attendant, talking, etc. When the book begins, he has a beautiful girlfriend, Marylou, and a wife in San Francisco, Camille. By the end of the book, he has a wife and two daughters by Camille and a wife, Inez, and baby in New York. He can’t stay true to anyone. He is searching for IT (God) and thinks he finds it through new experiences, new women, new everything.
Jack Kerouac took notes while on road trips in the 1940s. Carlo Marx (a very strange dude who liked to sit cross-legged in front of Dean and they would talk nonsense to each other all night long) in the book is Allen Ginsberg in real life. Dean Moriarty in the book is Neal Cassady in real life. In the 1950s, Kerouac, using his notebooks, typed up the book in 3 weeks on sheets of tracing paper which he had taped together. It has become a classic. He started the Beat Generation. In the book, he talks about beat this and beat that, and it seems like he means things or people who are used up, downtrodden, at the end of their ropes. Not sure how this became the Beat Generation.
There is a tragic, sad feeling to the book. Dean is always searching, searching, searching. People fall in love with him and he loves people, but he can’t settle down. He uses them and abandons them and comes back to them and leaves them again. Sal is his good friend and does not judge him and kind of acts the same way a little bit, but in the end, he finds his Laura and settles down, while Dean’s life, you feel, is going to end tragically.
Eye-opening book about Russia. It details Bill Browder’s experience as a hedge fund manager starting soon after communism fell through his battle for justice for his lawyer, Sergie Magnitsky, who was tortured to death in a Russian prison. Bill fought and fought and fought to keep the truth in the forefront, while Putin and cronies did everything they could to prevent the passage of the Magnitsky Act. The lies and the evil they concoct are never-ending. I had a feeling the Russian government was bad but this reveals just how bad. When the Magnitsky Act finally passed in 2012, Putin had to retaliate. He eventually banned Americans from adopting Russian children – many of whom were already adopted and ready to be picked up – many of whom were in need of medical care they could get only in America.
When Bill Browder started his hedge fund in Russia in 1996, Boris Yeltsin was the leader. When Putin first came to power (in 2000), Putin was on the same side as Bill Brower, who by then was starting to discover corruption in Russia and exposing it. But a few years later, Putin became his adversary because Putin was in on the corruption.
I learned a lot from this book. For example, Ireland has been blowing up monuments (to British men) for centuries. If our Black Americans blew up the monuments to slavery, the outcry would never end. Maeve was welcomed to America from Ireland because she is white and young and European. The brown people trying to come to America through our southern borders are not welcome. What’s worse, they (Mexicans) were here first.
I love Maeve Higgins! She is SO funny on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” Her voice is so appealing, so sweet, and I wish she was on that show every week. This book was not funny, though. She definitely has a serious side and cares deeply about the poor and downtrodden and also our planet. She covers major issues: Racism towards Blacks, Racism towards Mexicans/Hispanics/Latinos, and climate change. When Bush was president in the early 2000s, a Republican strategist named Frank Luntz told him to stop saying ‘global warming’ and to say ‘climate change’ instead, and also to raise doubts about the science itself. So, 20 years later we have done basically nothing to prevent the earth from warming further. In 2017, Luntz’s home in LA almost burned down in a wildfire. He said to the Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, “Just stop using something that I wrote 18 years ago, because it’s not accurate today.”
The last pages of the book tell the story of a hero on a train in Portland who dies protecting two girls from a deranged person with a knife. His last words were, “Tell everyone on this train I love them.” So Christ-like! I appreciate her perspective and learned a lot from her.
I finished it! It’s not what I expected. He has never met Roger and Roger is barely mentioned in this book. He loves tennis and he loves Roger, but this book is mostly about dead, or nearly dead, poets, artists, writers, and musicians, and their last works. I have not read most of the books he wrote about, nor listened to most of the music he wrote about. This book is beautifully written but the only parts I liked were when he talked about himself, his tennis injuries, and tennis in general. He is a critic and I am not into the things he is critiquing, except for himself and tennis.
I asked neighbor, Nate, what book he was reading currently and he said this one. It sounded intriguing so I checked it out from the library. I scanned it–didn’t read it word-for-word. Their premise is that our modern lives are the opposite of healthy lives. I like what the jacket sleeve says: “We are living through the most prosperous age in all of human history, yet we are listless, divided, and miserable. Wealth and comfort are unparalleled, but our political landscape is unmoored, and rates of suicide, loneliness, and chronic illness continue to skyrocket. How do we explain the gap between these truths? And how should we respond?
“For evolutionary biologists Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, the cause of our troubles is clear: the accelerating rate of change in the modern world has outstripped the capacity of our brains and bodies to adapt. We evolved to live in clans, but today many people don’t even know their neighbors’ names. In our haste to discard outdated gender roles, we increasingly deny the flesh-and-blood realities of sex–and its ancient roots. The cognitive dissonance spawned by trying to live in a society we are not built for is killing us.”
This is the second book I have read by this author. I learned about him when Christie let me know about his newest book, The Last Days of Roger Federer. The first book I read of his was Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It. That book was funny and very, very enjoyable. This one was good, but not humorous. I missed his humor. He is with his wife during most of this book. He calls her Jessica in the book, but her name is Rebecca. The book is about places he visited that are famous and may impart meaningful emotional experiences while there. Most of them seemed a huge let-down.
Enjoyable book. This is the first selection for the summer Old Town Library Take Me Away book club – selected by our leader, Librarian Meg Schiel. The characters are very endearing. I like that it was set in Toronto, in a Muslim area called the Golden Crescent. The main character is Hana Khan, a 24 year-old Muslim girl, daughter of beloved parents who immigrated from India. Her mother runs a restaurant called Three Sisters. Hana works there but dreams of being a radio station host. She has her own podcast and a mysterious, funny, wise man named StanleyP posts witty on-line comments after each podcast. They have quite the on-line relationship. Then, a young man (Aydin Shah) and his father come to the neighborhood to open a new restaurant and try to put Three Sisters out of business. Hana does her best to try and ruin their business before they can open it. She fails and learns lessons along the way about family secrets, dreams, racism.
Her family includes a beloved father (Baba) who is injured and can no longer work so stays home and does jigsaw puzzles and blesses his family with his loving presence. Hana’s sister, Fazeela, is pregnant with the “cantaloupe” and married to a wonderful man, Fahim, who loves her dearly. They help run the restaurant. Then, a cousin (Rashid) and an Aunt (Kawkab Khala) come for a visit from India and end up saving the day. There are white supremacists who spread hatred, trouble and fear, but in the end, they conquer them with love, joy, and humor. During the annual street festival, Aydin hires some talented dancers and musicians to entertain the crowd. The white supremacists are protesting, becoming more and more threatening. The entertainers play loud music with a good beat and their talented dancing, along with Aydin’s funny and goofy dancing, overcome their attempts to ruin the festival with their hatred and ugliness. By this time, Hana and Aydin have admitted to one another that they are in love. And, it turns out, StanleyP and Aydin are one and the same person! Nice, happy fairy-tale ending. Enjoyed this book.